Injured Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers answered questions from the media in the locker room today for the first time since breaking his collarbone against the Chicago Bears on Nov. 4.
On when he will be available to play: ďStill sticking to what I said yesterday (on his ESPN Milwaukee radio show), that in order to play, Iím going to need to be on the field two days before the game, so thatís Friday of this week or Tuesday of next week. Obviously, limited to zero participation today depending on what you consider coaching tips, so just waiting the waiting game and see what happens.Ē
On the frustration of not playing: ďItís disappointing because I care about it so much, I love being out there with the guys. This is why football is a team sport, itís about the other 52 guys on the active roster and guys picking up the slack. Weíve dealt with injuries around here for a long time; itís a next man up mentality. Itís tough to be out there obviously because I love playing. Iím just trying to help out as much as I can.Ē
On the urgency of returning: ďThereís been urgency since I was in the locker room trying to get my pads back on to go back out against Chicago. Itís a tough injury to deal with because itís not like you can tough through this or gut it out which Iíve done with various other injuries throughout my career. It is difficult, but you just have to trust the process and hope it heals quicker than some people think.Ē
On backup Scott Tolzienís performance: ďIím proud of Scott and the way heís stepped in, especially his first action when he took just a few reps that week and stepped in and threw for almost 300 yards last week. You know, he hit a lot of deep throws. Obviously, youíd like to have a couple throws back from that game, but thatís typical. We always strive to be perfect. Heís learning on the fly. Itís a quick experience for him being thrown out there. His preparation has been very good, his approach. And I think he primed to have a good week.Ē
On whether the Packers can stay in contention without him: ďYes. I donít look at it like that. I think this is a team sport and guys need to pick up the slack, whether itís myself being down, or Clayís been out. Last year, we had a number of injuries where guys stepped up. The Super Bowl year we had a number of guys on the injured reserve list. Obviously, when you touch the ball on every play it might have a different significance. But the guys have to pick up the slack and we need to win these games.Ē
On what itís been like to watch rather than play: ďIt just reminds you how much you love the game, how difficult it is to not be out there with the guys. This is a privilege to play in this league. Iím very blessed, not only with the talent, but the opportunity and the platform that football has afforded each and every one of us. It just gives you perspective when youíre not out there, why you do what you do.Ē